summer travel guide: sometimes almost always on redlands

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It's no secret that the state of California is filled with incredible food and plenty to see, and the city of Redlands is no exception - located in the heart of southern California, Redlands is a stone's throw from cities like Los Angeles and Palm Springs - and it happens to be one of the state's best-kept secrets in terms of travel. Melissa of sometimes almost always (you may remember Melissa from her beautiful wedding photos I shared this spring) is a writer, vintage seller, and stylish lady living in Redlands with her newlywed husband Johnny. Here is her hometown travel guide!

Where to eat? My husband and I are on a pho kick right now, and our favorite spot is Pho Mai or Noodle 21. Then for dessert, go downtown to à la minute for made-to-order organic ice cream. The orange honey ice cream is made using oranges from local groves (Redlands is known for it), but the salted caramel is my favorite! Farm Artisan is supposed to be amazing, too, if you're looking to get fancy. I have yet to eat there, but I will soon! I'll probably do a post on it to update you all.

Best coffee shop? Augie's, where my roommate works! I don't drink coffee but I love tea and the Vanilla Berry Truffle is wonderful. There's also Cafe Royal, which used to be Fox Coffee, right near the Fox Theatre.

Favorite afternoon excursion? Prospect Park is beautiful with a great view overlooking the city and an outdoor amphitheater that holds a summer theater festival. I think the first one slated for this summer is The Company. It's like watching a play or a concert in the middle of a forest. The park across from my house, Sylvan Park, is great too. Redlands Lawn Bowling is located there, and everyone gets all dressed in white and brings out their colorful umbrellas to play. My husband and I are just getting into disc golf and we practice there before we hit the disc golf course.

Favorite evening entertainment? The Vault is great. It's like a small little brick bar you'd expect to find in Bedford or somewhere else on the East Coast, with great live music and dollar well drinks on Tuesdays. A few of my friends usually play there. The Underground is another cool pub/bar that literally is underground.

katz alley by emma rolos galleria by emma rolos
amphitheatre by emma rolos

Where to shop? Downtown Redlands has pretty much everything you need - coffeehouses, yoga studios, vintage shops, record stores - and it's just a short bike ride away. Redlands is very much a bicycle-friendly area so everything is in close proximity. Katz Alley for vinyl LPs and used books and trinkets, definitely. Redlands Galleria for vintage furniture, clothing, everything; it's three levels of thrifting/antiquing heaven. I find the most lovely dresses and sweaters. The prices are insanely cheap for really great quality vintage. Down the street is The Blues, too.

Favorite neighborhood? I'd say the downtown area because it's all in one place, and also Olive Avenue. It's full of gorgeous old historic houses and a little market in the neighborhood with a cafe.

What travel advice would you give to those visiting Redlands for the first time? The great thing about Redlands is that it's located within an hour or less near Los Angeles, Orange County, and Palm Springs so you have easy access to the city, the beach, and the desert. But, I think once you make it to Redlands, you won't want to venture far. It's a hidden gem in inland Southern California that has everything you look for in a summer travel destination, with an urban but old town feel. Bring your bike and cruise around town and I'm sure you'll make friends along the way!


Thanks a lot, Melissa! Don't forget to check out her blog and vintage shop. All photos courtesy of Melissa and shot by Emma Rolos.